Tampere, FIN – Canada’s World Championship team fell 4-2 to Finland on Tuesday evening, in front of a sell-out crowd of 7800 on hand in Tampere. Tuomo Ruutu of the Chicago Blackhawks scored twice for Finland, while linemates Shane Doan and Jonathan Toews scored for Canada.
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Finland opened the scoring against the road weary Canadian side. Forward Sean Bergenheim came in on his off wing and sent a quick wrist shot over Dwayne Roloson’s glove.
Canada evened things up on their first power play as a unit. Jame Pollock’s shot from the point banked in off Shane Doan (Halkirk, AB/ Phoenix, NHL) to make it 1-1. At the mid-way point of the first period, Canada seemed to have taken the lead. Justin Williams (Cobourg, ON/ Carolina, NHL) drove to the net and pushed Eric Staal’s pass past Fredrik Norrena. The referee called off the goal, saying that Williams hit the puck with a high stick.
Finland was back in front at 14:08. Tuomo Ruutu took a one-time shot from the right circle that beat Roloson (Simcoe, ON/ Edmonton, NHL). Canada headed to the dressing room trailing 2-1.
Canada carried most of the play in the second with Jamal Mayers (Toronto, ON/ St. Louis, NHL) coming the closest to scoring, a quick shot that hit the post behind Norrena. Cam Ward (Sherwood Park, AB/ Carolina, NHL) took over Roloson in net for Canada at the 10:59 mark as Head Coach Andy Murray looked to give both goaltenders some game action. Roloson made 12 saves in his time in net. Both goaltenders hadn’t played in a game since April 8th. No scoring in the second period with Finland maintaining a one-goal lead.
Canada continued to press for an equalizer early in the third, allowing a three-on-on in the process but Cam Ward slid across to make a great save to keep Canada within a single marker. Finland took a two-goal lead at 10:18 of the final frame, on a goal that just crossed the line. Ruutu got credit for the somewhat controversial goal, that was counted, then overturned, then counted again. Less than a minute later, Jonathan Toews (Winnipeg, MB/ North Dakota, WCHA) banged home a rebound to get Canada to within one again. Finland scored an empty-net goal at 18:53 of the final period, team captain Ville Peltonen with the marker, as Finland skated to a 4-2 win.
Prior to the start of Tuesday’s game, National Team defenceman Cory Murphy (Kanata, ON/ Mannheim, DEL), who used to play with Ilves at this very arena and has just signed with the NHL’s Florida Panthers, was presented with his Top Defenceman Award of the Finnish Elite League during a brief ceremony.
Canada departs for Russia on Thursday, and plays its first game on Saturday, April 28th, against Germany.